Allow your passion to become your purpose and one day it will become your profession.
I saw Gabrielle Bernstein’s quote several years ago, when I was working as a teacher. I thought I had found my passion but I was struggling with my purpose. Becoming poorly in 2014 was a big wake up call which has thankfully helped me to realise what my purpose is. Hallelujah!
New lease of life
The Feel Good Community was a result of changing my mindset about life with a chronic illness. I had to stop focusing on the things I couldn’t do anymore and start focusing on the things I could do. Luckily I had help from my sister and an amazing Coventry based charity called Grapevine. They had just started a collaboration with Public Health called Good To Go. By taking a social movement based approach they were able to create a strong community that worked on challenges together.
Good to Go starts with relationships, and innovation flows from there. When people are close to one another there are fewer defences against new experiences. There is openness to learning. Defining the problem, and co-creating the solution, is all part of the collective task.
Fast forward a couple of years
Grapevine secured funding from the resilience strand of the Better Health, Better Care, Better Value Programme and I managed to secure a part-time position working alongside Naomi. We are using the learnings from the Good To Go Project to enable us to work with people to take action on some of the issues that affect health and wellbeing particularly for those who have a long-term health condition.
Feeling good together
We started in February and have spent the past couple of months listening to people, gathering people’s ideas and finding out what is already going on in Coventry. We set up a Feel Good Ambassador Facebook group as a way for people to connect and feel stronger together no matter what life throws at us. The Feel Good Ambassadors have been helping us organise different events this year.
Ideas Factories are how Grapevine gathers people together to tease out life’s problems and enable us to co-create solutions. We had some amazing ideas and pledges of support at the Ideas Factory in April. 30 people generated 50 ideas, we managed to whittle down to three main themes. The amazing Alan Van Wijgerden was our photographer on the night. Check out the short film I made from Alan’s snapshots below…
- Monthly meet-ups
- Creative solutions
- A campaign to raise awareness and get our voices heard
Pulling things together
In May we held a follow-on event to enable us to narrow these ideas down further. John Whitmore kindly took some amazing snapshots of our last event ‘Turning Ideas Into Realities’ and has written a blog.
Naomi has been working on ‘Good Clean Fun’ a litter picking meet up with a difference – Community-led group aiming to keep the streets of Coventry clean while promoting well-being and togetherness. Also, a games night which is held at St Claire’s at the Cathedral every first Thursday of the month.
I’ve been trying to get my head around the creative, campaign and self-care themes that came across so strongly at both our events and in the listening we have been doing.
Introducing the #SelfCareSocial
Pulling the ideas and pledges of support together has been an exciting challenge and I am pleased to announce that the first #SelfCareSocial will be taking place on the 19th of July 2018. This will be an opportunity for people to get together to help shape this new movement. Gabriela from Coventry University Social Enterprise Hub has kindly offered to host our first event and several other folks have kindly offered to run creative workshops. Exciting times ahead!
99,000 people in Coventry live life with a long-term health condition. That is 1 in 3 of us. So if you don’t have a long-term condition maybe one of your friends, family members, work colleagues or neighbour does. We should use our similar experiences to unite us rather than divide us.
Come along to our first #SelfCareSocial and help us to create a new social movement in Coventry. One where people can feel supported and connected no matter what life throws at us.
A movement needs people! We need YOU!
If you would like more information please get in touch either on here or via email firstname.lastname@example.org